It’s that time of year when it doesn’t matter what you do; you can’t seem to escape the yellow dust in the air. And when you add the humidity and heat into the mix, it feels like your lungs have to work overtime. Pollen is definitely not your friend if you have allergies, and it certainly doesn’t do anything to help our air quality.
Symptoms as simple as headaches, sneezing, and congestion are all signs that you may be suffering from poor air quality. It doesn’t sound like something you should be worrying about, but poor air quality can negatively affect your overall health. Bad air quality has been linked to respiratory and heart diseases and poor mental health and productivity.
Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are three tips to improve your air quality inside and outside so you can breathe easier.
Replace Air Filter Regularly
This should be a rule of thumb and already a habit, but if it’s not, make it one now. The best way to improve the air quality inside your house is by changing your AC filter on a regular basis. No, those things don’t last forever. And, yes, outdoor pollutants do find their way into your house.
Pollutants, such as pollen, dust, and animal dander, can build up and clog your filter. If this occurs, fresh air has to pass through the dirty filter, sending polluted air out for you to breathe.
You should change your filter every 60 to 90 days. However, some filters have extended life spans, so be sure to read the information found on your AC filter packaging.
Use Essential Oils
Diffusing your household air with essential oils not only makes your house smell good but can also improve your indoor air quality. Studies have found that essential oils purify the air by potentially killing microorganisms and airborne bacteria that have found their way into your house and are polluting the air.
Pine, clove, lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, oregano, thyme, lemon, and anise have been shown to reduce microbes in the air. It’s like spring cleaning but without actually having to clean. That’s a win in our book. And in addition to cleaning the air, some oils have medicinal properties utilizing aromatherapy. For example, use lemon oil to improve your mood. Peppermint oil to give your immune system a boost. Rosemary oil to assist with respiratory conditions.
Check the Air Quality Index in Your County
If you suffer from allergies or respiratory conditions, it’s a good idea to check the air quality index for your area. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) here in the United States releases daily safety ratings that give us a standard measurement of the quality of the air. This is called the air quality index (AQI), and you can access it at www.airnow.gov. You can also usually find the AQI on your local weather apps. The EPA bases its measurement on five major air pollutants: particle pollution, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
Along with checking the air quality, check for your daily pollen count. This will let you know if pollen is high and likely to disrupt your allergies.
You may not be able to control the outdoor elements, but you can take steps to improve the air quality in your house and avoid harmful air outside. Protect yourself and breathe easier with clean air.